Quick Ship Brands Puts Growth on the Fast Track With Help From FedEx
As their name implies, Quick Ship Brands has built a strong reputation by providing its high-quality refurbished tech products to online customers — fast. From 2009 to 2011 alone, the Woodinville, Wash.–based company grew 250 percent. To get there, owner Jordan Insley needed a transportation provider he could rely on for both top service and strategic insights to support his aggressive growth.
Bidding On Success
Jordan Insley started selling unique sports memorabilia on eBay in 2002. He discovered he could source and sell only so many sports items. He knew he needed other products he could acquire and sell in greater numbers if he wanted a successful online retail business. But what?
The epiphany came during a visit to a retail electronics store. While noting the stacks of unsold and returned cameras, the proverbial flash went off in Insley’s head.
Insley purchased the unsold and overstock cameras and offered them on eBay. They quickly sold out. At the end of 2005, Insley moved to Seattle and, like many start-ups, set up his company in his garage and worked to become a top eBay seller.
Good Things in Big Packages
It was sales of the iPod that pushed Quick Ship Brands to the next level. Between 2007 and 2012, the company sold more than 350,000 refurbished iPods. That boost allowed them to move out of Insley’s garage into a 10,000-square-foot warehouse in 2008 and expand into other types of electronics, including popular products such as LED and plasma televisions.
Insley reacted to the explosive growth by making fast but strategic decisions about each new challenge. For instance, shipping 22-inch to 55-inch televisions proved difficult. Not only are TVs big, they’re delicate, so breakage was a key concern. FedEx strategic account executive Bradley Davis met with Insley and called in a packaging engineer to help find a solution. The engineer made suggestions that Insley and his team implemented immediately. They created a wooden crate around the televisions that greatly reduced the amount of breakage, saved the company money and helped them maintain high customer-satisfaction rates. “FedEx really helped us get into bigger electronics,” Insley says.
The majority of the 67,000 packages the company ships through FedEx each year — including the televisions — ship via FedEx Home Delivery® and FedEx Ground. For lighter items, Quick Ship Brands uses FedEx SmartPost®. “FedEx offers reliable, efficient service. And they give us the ability to track package status every step of the way. FedEx helps us compete,” Insley says.
In fact, to help make sure Insley’s customers received five-star service, Davis has delivered orders himself. “During a giant snowstorm when FedEx couldn’t get a truck to us, Davis drove out in his Suburban, picked up the packages that had to go out that day and dropped them off at the nearest FedEx Office location,” Insley says. “That’s the kind of dedication FedEx provides.”
Automation Made to Fit
FedEx also handles returns for Insley. “Customer service is a top priority for us, and when you’re selling refurbished tech, you need an easy, convenient returns system,” Insley says. “If our customers have a problem, they get a shipping label emailed to them within seconds.”
Tapping his inner techie, Insley hired his own IT team to develop software that integrates all of the systems they need into one intuitive interface. They worked with the FedEx® Compatible Solutions Program team to build shipping functionality directly into the software. “I realized early on that automation was vital to the success of my business,” Insley says. His software works so well that he’ll soon offer it to other companies.
Crossing the Mississippi
The more products Quick Ship Brands sold, the more it became clear they needed faster shipping to the East Coast.
“We have suppliers on the East Coast that were first shipping products to us in Seattle before we shipped them back out to customers across the Mississippi,” Insley says. He entrusted Davis to help him find the best location for a second warehouse. Davis did a search that incorporated multiple factors, including where the highest concentrations of customers lived.
“A week later, Insley called me from Indiana. He was out looking at warehouse spaces,” Davis says. In September 2011, Insley opened a 20,000-square-foot facility in Indianapolis. “The minute we opened our second warehouse, there was a FedEx truck at the door ready to fill with orders. Our FedEx account representative just gets things done.”
Insley credits his strategic relationship with FedEx as a factor in his company’s quick success: “Our FedEx account representative and his team come up with solutions. That kind of mentality helps us grow.”
Quick Ship Brands plans to continue growing by selling new electronics online for manufacturers who don’t have an online selling portal. “We’ll stick to what we know, which is selling a high volume of products direct to consumers and providing the software it takes to do that,” Insley says. No doubt Quick Ship Brands will live up to its name yet again.
FedEx Online Retail Solutions
We’ve created a resource community for online retailers. Go to fedex.com/ecommerce for the latest retail industry knowledge and best practices, case studies, exclusive white papers, and solution-finding tools to help you create a service “bundle” optimized for your business. Check back frequently to get your business clicking with FedEx!